Experts generally agree that from the age of six months, a baby needs something more substantial than milk. However, infants who have not grown to the expected size or lack iron (anaemic) may be weaned earlier, between the age of four and six months.
However, weaning too early, for instance when the baby is two to three months, could lead to digestive disorders. There is also a higher risk of the child developing a food allergy. On the other hand, if the baby is weaned too late, he or she may not get enough nutrition and this may lead to growth retardation.
A few menu suggestions
Six to nine months
- Coarser minces or purées of vegetables, chicken, meat, fish, lentils and pulses like kidney beans.
- Lumpier finger foods such as chopped hard-boiled eggs, cubed or grated hard cheese, pasta, raw soft fruit and vegetables, e.g. tomato or banana.
- Some wheat-based breakfast cereals and bread.
Nine to twelve months
- Wholemeal breads, cereals and pasta.
- Chopped meats, chicken, fish and liver.
- Lightly cooked or raw vegetable and fruit.
- Prepare potatoes, noodles and puddings as you would for adults, e.g. rice pudding.
- Unsweetened orange juice to go with meals.
Over one year
- Family meals.
- Take the baby’s portion out before you add salt.
- There’s no need to mash up the food, but you can chop it to bite size if needed.
- Whole milk as a drink and soft cheeses.
- Lean meat and oily fish, e.g. sardine and kippers.
Recipe: Fish, rice and vegetable puree
(Recommended for babies from six months old)
Add a slice of variety to your baby's food! This recipe is a complete meal on its own.
1 fillet fish (sole or threadfin)
2 tablespoons well-boiled rice
1 piece sweet potato
3 slices steamed zucchini
1. Steam fish for 20 minutes until cooked
2. Boil sweet potato until tender
3. Steam zucchini for 10 minutes
4. Blend all ingredients together
5. Add water (boiled and cooled) if the mixture needs to be thinned down
For a change, replace the fish with a piece of chicken breast.
Recipe: Pear rice
(Recommended for babies four to six months old)
This dish can be done in a minute. All you need is a baby cereal and pureed pear from a bottle.
1 tablespoon rice cereal
1 tablespoon pureed pear
Boiled water or formula (both cooled)
Mix all ingredients together and you're done!
You can replace the pear with apple, grapes, prunes or other pureed fruit.
Article contributed by the Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at:
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